You asked us, "If we don't need an appendix, why is it there in the first place?"
Just because you don't need your appendix, doesn't mean it's useless.
Now, for a long time people thought it was. Charles Darwin theorized the appendix was a shriveled, leftover organ used by early humans to help digest leaves. And that's been the predominant thinking up until recently.
But that's the great thing about science. Everyone thinks one thing and then someone else says, "Hey, I've a better explanation."
A team of researchers did just that. They wondered if it's not so much what the appendix does, but what it can hold.
See, our bodies are like an apartment building. And we have tenants living inside of us. These tenants are bacteria. In fact, there's about 10 times more bacteria in and on our bodies than in our actual cells.
But like all good tenants, they pay rent. The bacteria in our gut help us digest food and manufacture vitamins. They even help our immune system. That's right, bacteria in our bodies help our immune system fight other bacteria.
But sometimes invading bacteria get the best of our immune system and we get sick. Like, cholera sick or dysentery sick.
Not be gross, but we're talking life-threatening, never-ending diarrhea sick.
In cases like this, all your good gut bacteria could be washed out. That is, unless they have a place to hunker down. Like the appendix.
Scientists theorize the appendix acts as a reserve, where good bacteria can hide until the illness is over. And then they re-emerge and repopulate the gut and go right back to helping us out.
Now you may not be that familiar with diseases like cholera or dysentery and that's because modern sewage systems have largely done away with them.
So in today's high tech world, you can live just fine without your appendix.
But you never know, maybe sometime in the future, another scientist will have a better explanation.